The Mã Pì Lèng Gorge

The River Nho Quế cuts over 2,000 feet (600 m) down through soft limestone... ...to form the main gorge of the Mã Pì Lèng Pass. The main gorge. The Ma Pi gorge. A wider view of the gorge showing the plateau of hills within which it sits The plateau beyond the gorge. The plateau stretches away above the gorge The hills by the gorge. The hills by the gorge Mist shrouding the karsts. Often the karsts on the plateau are shrouded in mist, here it is just lifting above the nearby tops The gorge is formed by the River Nho Quế which cuts through the limestone of the karst landscape, leaving the pyramid formations seemingly marooned on the plateau high above. Visitors walking in the pass. ...and as background for exercise in the mountain air Photographing the karsts. The karsts draw tourists for photography ... Two karst formations with villages. Two Karsts above the gorge with a village and the road finding a foothold on their slopes Karsts on the plateau. These karsts sit on the plateau 3,000 feet above the river in the gorge below Scree slope on the north bank. The 3,000 foot scree slope on the north side of the river Geological strata under buttress. The geological strata show plainly under the buttress to the east of the river House on hillside. At the bottom left of the picture to the left is a small village, remote yes, but then notice the dark green clump of trees dead centre. The photograph above, of that clump, shows the house in it. For most of us the idea of conducting a normal life on a 45 degree slope surrounded by precipices is unimaginable. A karst half eroded. Here half of one of these pyramid karsts has fallen away, the context is shown in the image below - as is the vulnerability of the road to such avalanches House in a clump of trees. Another house on a similar slope The road and a broken karst. The road through the pass clings to the hillside - more on the road itself next week School, village and river. The school is in the trees to the right, the river is at the left of the photo Selling fish on the road. A fisherman brings his catch from the river up to the road to sell to local customers A constant theme of a trip through the pass is the way normal life goes on against the spectacular backdrop. Making the point in dramatic style is the school, its open ground at the front being protected by a few bamboos from the 3,000 feet drop into the gorge. A visitor to the school. A westerner photographs the school watched by a pupul - the Vietnamese flag indicates a government building The school and its neighbouring houses. The school by the road with the neighbouring houses School above the gorge. A school with a view
Saturday 10th September 2016 Murphy on duty

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